LNESC and Verizon Expand STEM Educational Program in 5 States and Washington, D.C. to Inspire Next Generation of Scientists

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Program enrolls over 150 high school students to inspire the pursuit of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

LULAC National Educational Service Centers Inc. (LNESC) and Verizon are bringing an innovative, experience-based STEM program to the nation’s capital. The program has already served hundreds of students in San Antonio, TX; Corpus Christi, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Colorado Springs, CO; and Bronx, NY. Columbia Heights Educational Campus in the District of Columbia Public Schools will be the site of the first STEM Explorers Program in the Washington, DC metro area supported by the Verizon Foundation and LULAC National Education Services Centers (LNESC). The public is invited to participate in a Reception Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 3:30pm at Columbia Heights Educational Campus located at 3101 16th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20010.

The Verizon STEM Explorers program is an after school high school program that encourages students’ interest in STEM fields by exposing them to real world STEM applications and problems through an interactive after school curriculum. Students are exposed to over 50 hours of STEM focused curriculum encompassing building a foundation in problem solving, reverse engineering, future energy, design, and cloud computing.

With an estimated 3 million STEM jobs currently unfilled, there is a clear need to encourage and prepare more students in STEM, particularly women and students in underserved communities. Only 17 percent of U.S. 12th graders are both proficient in math and interested in majoring in a STEM field in college. According to Emilio Gonzalez, Vice President for Strategic Alliances at Verizon, “Verizon is committed to empowering educators and engaging students via mobile technology and by providing the tools, training and support that teachers need to increase student interest and achievement.” Over its long-standing partnership with LULAC and LNESC, Verizon has invested close to $5 million dollars in education and technology initiatives.    

"The Verizon STEM Explorers program provides an invaluable experience to participants. Through STEM Explorers, LNESC of Corpus Christi exposes underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged participants to scientific experiences not availed to them through their school’s curriculum. The program introduces participants to real-world applications of STEM and to professionals working in related fields. The Verizon STEM Explorers program is instrumental in encouraging participants to pursue careers in a STEM field", said Feliberto Valdez, LNESC Corpus Christi Director.

Students make significant gains in problem solving, following procedures, independent thinking, and critical thinking skills as a result of the problem. Skills gained are attributed to group collaboration with teacher guidance and encouragement to use their own knowledge and skills while following procedures. Student comprehension of the importance of STEM fields increases as they learn a variety of jobs and careers available in the STEM area.

“Our program targets Latinos, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. While Latinos make up only 5.3% of the STEM workforce in the U.S., LNESC is committed to engaging and fostering interest in the STEM fields by effectively preparing young people for the jobs of the new economy,” said Richard Roybal, Executive Director of LNESC.

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LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) was established in 1973 by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to provide educational programming to high-need students throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Throughout 14 education and technology centers, LNESC has served over 500,000 students, sent 150,000 students on to college, and awarded nearly $20 million in scholarships. LNESC’s results are made possible by a network of dedicated field staff, top-notch teachers, over 90 school partners, and the support of LULAC - the nation’s largest membership based Latino organization. LNESC works to change lives and build Latino communities, one student at a time. More information about LNESC and its programs can be found at http://www.LNESC.org.

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company's innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon's philanthropic work, visit http://www.verizon.com/about/responsibility; or for regular updates, visit Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/verizongiving).

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Paloma Zuleta
LULAC
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